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  • Writer's pictureDavid Avery

The Ultimate Guide to Revenue Operations

If you work in a B2B environment, chances are that you are familiar with Sales Operations and possibly even Marketing Operations, and Customer Success Operations. But over the last few years, many organizations are shifting from individual operations teams to one centralized team or center of excellence, often referred to as “Revenue Operations.”

In fact, according to a study performed by Forrester, the number of B2B organizations who have centralized their operations teams went from 15% in 2019 to 40% in 2021. That’s a 3X increase to nearly 50% of all organizations in just two years!

For many organizations, the best way to build a strong and effective sales, marketing, and customer success operations teams is to bring them under one umbrella. According to SiriusDecisions 45% of businesses that are utilizing revenue operations all reported to a Chief Revenue Officer and 25% of the businesses said that they report to a centralized leader like a COO.

Why are more and more B2B companies centralizing revenue operations? Well, according to the Boston Consulting Group, revenue teams that aligned their operations teams under one Revenue Operations unit experienced the following benefits:

  • 100% to 200% increases in digital marketing ROI

  • 10% to 20% increases in sales productivity

  • 10% increases in lead acceptance

  • 15% to 20% increases in internal customer satisfaction

  • 30% reductions in GTM expenses

This article will explain everything you need to know about Revenue Operations and how it can help drive more revenue in your organization.

Article Contents:

What is Rev Ops?

Today, marketing, sales, and customer success are often referred to as one group called “revenue teams.” This is due to the emerging mindset that the roles of sales, marketing and service or support functions should include producing a positive presale and post-sale customer experience to support not just landing new business, but fostering customer retention and growth.

Much like the individual marketing, sales, and customer success operations, revenue operations is the team, role, activities and processes within an organization that support those revenue teams in an effort to increase revenue.

Revenue Operations departments work to implement, improve, and streamline your revenue teams’ process, platform, reporting, and strategy. Where sales, marketing, and customer success operations teams support just one of those groups individually and often sit within the business units they serve, revenue operations is the centralization of all operations under one umbrella.

The goal of centralized operations is to break down silos between your marketing, sales, and service departments in how they work within shared systems, align on go-to-market strategy, leverage one source of truth for reporting and performance management, and enjoy one unified, streamlined process for a better prospect and customer experience. The result is decreased cost, increased efficiency, and increased revenue.

The 4 Pillars of RevOps

Revenue operations is based around 4 pillars: Process, Platform, Analytics, and Strategy. Every pillar is a foundational construction block that the next pillar is constructed upon.

Pillar 1 - Process

Revenue Operations is a strategic support system for any organization. It helps drive decisions around marketing investment, headcount and org structure, account segmentation, product pricing, and much more. That strategy is driven by analytics, but you cannot properly create dashboards and perform analysis if you do not first have a consistent process. Without a process, you will have inconsistent values in your data, gaps in the data from a lack of standardization, and be unable to provide explanations for underperformance because no conclusion properly applies to everyone, to name a few issues.

The core process for a Revenue Operations team is the Lead-to-Revenue process, commonly called the lead funnel or demand waterfall. This process describes what happens when a lead enters your CRM system and how that Lead and Company information is passed between supporting technologies and teams before ultimately converting into an Opportunity that becomes a closed won deal.

Within this process are several other processes. At the top of the funnel there are processes around lead scoring, lead routing, campaign tracking, and data enrichment. Toward the middle of the funnel, there are sub-processes that track which leads are delivered to Sales or BDR teams, which are rejected, and which leads are willing to take initial sales qualification meetings.

Toward the bottom of the funnel, where sales teams convert those initial meetings into pipeline and ultimately into bookings or revenue, there are additional processes such as configure, pricing, and quoting (CPQ), proof-of-concept (POC) demonstration with prospects, negotiation and contract approval processes, and more.

In each process, the role of Operations is to do the following:

  • Work with leadership to define and document processes

  • Implement changes to processes in business systems

  • Automate and standardize tools to reduce manual effort and eliminate human error

  • Enable teams on process and change management

The goal of revenue operations is to reduce both the ambiguity and friction in these processes so that the sales, marketing, and customer success teams can measure the process and market to, sell, renew, and upsell customers more efficiently.

Pillar 2 - Platform

After any Operations team has defined, documented, and trained teams on various processes, the next step is to instrument those processes with software and other technology that will streamline the process. Technology helps marketing, sales, and customer success teams to do more with less and leverage the power of computers and the internet to simplify repetitive tasks or perform them much faster. More often than not, companies have several tools that they “stack” on top of each other - often referred to as a “tech stack”. Your Revenue Operations team will own all aspects of that stack.

A Revenue Operations team or individual will own the stack by advising the business on which technologies they should invest in, helping to select the best vendor to meet the specific processes they’ve built and what will support marketing, sales, and customer success strategy. RevOps also is responsible for implementing those tools, integrating them with other technology such as the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system or the company website, training teams on how to work in those technology platforms, and continuously drive adoption and roll out new features as they are released to be sure the organization receives a positive ROI on its investment in its tech stack.

Another critical role of Revenue Operations in an organization’s technology platform is data governance. Ensuring that teams are using systems properly and consistently is critical to good data quality. On average, according to, businesses lose up to 30% of revenue due to bad data quality. One of the primary reasons for poor data quality is human error in the form of typos, incorrect inputs, and incomplete information. RevOps can help reduce poor data with approval processes, validation rules, standardized picklists, and exception reporting. Ultimately, accurate information is the key to the next pillar of Revenue Operations, analytics, because as the old adage goes… garbage in, garbage out.

Pillar 3 - Analytics

What is analytics? According to Oracle, “Analytics is the process of discovering, interpreting, and communicating significant patterns in data. Quite simply, analytics helps us see insights and meaningful data that we might not otherwise detect. Business analytics focuses on using insights derived from data to make more informed decisions.”

Revenue Operations provide analytical support to the business in 3 primary forms:

  • Reports and charts and graphs in the form of dashboards

  • Analysis of data and data-driven insights to aid in decision making

  • Leading and facilitating business review cadences across sales, marketing, and customer success teams

According to LeadIQ, some of the key metrics that Revenue Operations teams often track and analyze include:

  • Win rates

  • Customer acquisition cost

  • End-to-end funnel conversion

  • Annual recurring revenue

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Forecast accuracy

  • Pipeline velocity

  • Sales cycle time

For companies who invest in analytics, RevOps team’s often house Business Intelligence functions who are responsible for extracting data from different business systems, combining that data together for a cohesive view of the customer, overlaying business logic and definitions, creating visualizations with that data that short trends and deriving insights.

Some teams even leverage new technology such as machine learning, AI, and predictive modeling to allow decision makers to make even more intelligent business decisions, increase revenue, reduce costs, and gain a competitive advantage. Ultimately, the Revenue Operations team will provide the analytics necessary to let leadership know what is working and not working within the Revenue generation process.

Pillar 4 - Strategy

Revenue Operations helps support business strategy by leveraging data and analytics to make recommendations. Within marketing, common areas that Revenue Operations helps drive strategy include budget allocation, marketing mix modeling, digital ad optimization, demand modeling to determine lead gen targets by channel, and TAM analysis for account-based marketing teams.

In the sales team, RevOps helps to drive strategic decisions such as product pricing, quota allocation modeling, territory planning and market segmentation, bookings projection and forecast accuracy.

Lastly, for Customer Success organizations Revenue Operations help provide data and analytics around the customer journey, product usage, early indicators of churn, and upsell/cross-sell opportunities within the install base.

In short, Revenue Operations teams ensure there is one cohesive go-to-market strategy across the entire revenue team to ensure alignment and achievement of revenue targets.

Benefits of Revenue Operations

Revenue operations tears down silos and integrates teams

Possibly one of the most essential characteristics of revenue operations is that it can help acquire and share information across departments. The sales, marketing and customer success teams are all essential when it comes to generating revenue and it can very easily become cost centers if not managed correctly.

We are used to these teams being individualized and having their own goals in mind. The truth of the matter is that these teams are all the same and should all have the same goal in mind - pushing revenu, and they should be working in harmony to reach that goal.

Revenue operations works to connect sales, marketing and customer success teams around the same goal and combine their processes, tools, and metrics so that each team can be as effective as possible individually and can avoid breakdowns in communication, data, or technology.

With that being said though, revenue operations does a lot more than just unite the teams toward common goals. Revenue operations analyzes, combines and distributes all of the data from each area of the business. That means that people on the sales team can utilize data from the marketing team, the marketing team can learn and grow from the data from the customer success team, and so on. According to the data from SiriusDecisions, 19% of organizations that align their sales, marketing and customer success teams through revenue operations see faster revenue growth and a 15% growth in profitability.

Technology consolidation and tech stack optimization

The average Marketing Tech stack is 20 tools or more. And the average Sales Technology stack is between 4-10 tools. That’s a combined total of up to 30 or more pieces of software in the average B2B organization! Although it is normal to see every team in any given organization have its own tech and its own tool suite for their specific functions, the silo structure of teams can cause an overlap of tools that do the same thing and are not integrated and therefore provide conflicting or missing data.

Revenue operations addresses that issue head on by introducing the purchase, implementation and management of tech at a singular point.

Revenue operation teams will be working across teams to manage an overall technology stack investment strategy so that marketing, sales, and customer success have the best tools for the job and get information that they need. Revenue operation teams often try to consolidate the masses with multi-functional applications that can perform sales, marketing and customer success functions in order to have a consistent stream of data and to save cost.

Drives predictable business growth

Revenue Operations helps revenue teams to drive predictable marketing, sales, and renewal/upsell performance. In marketing, Revenue Operations teams help demand gen leaders to learn which campaigns, channels, events, and ads work and do not work to produce the greatest pipeline and revenue.

Within sales, Revenue Ops helps sales leaders to understand which territories have greatest concentration of revenue potential, highest performing sales reps, forecast accuracy, and historical close rate, average deal size, and velocities.

For customer success, Revenue Operations helps to predict which customers are likely to renew and which are not based on engagement with levels with marketing, support, enablement, and more.

Higher customer retention

Revenue Operations teams help to improve customer retention in a few ways. Firstly, one of the primary goals of the Revenue Operations team is to provide seamless handoffs between marketing and sales, and sales and customer success. These hand-offs mean that prospects have a timely, and personalized experience as they are in the purchasing process and experience quicker onboarding and greater adoption post-purchase.

Secondly, Revenue Operations teams provide visibility into customer satisfaction and product utilization or purchase patterns. A complete view of the customers’ engagement with marketing, enablement, product feature, support case handling, and more, help provide early warning signs of churn and lead to greater retention and higher satisfaction.

Revenue Operations Vs. Sales Operations

Sales operations and Revenue Operations are very similar. Sales operations focuses on providing sales leadership visibility on the performance of the sales team, improving forecast accuracy and predictability, generating sales quotas and compensation, and CRM maintenance.

While Revenue Operations includes all of those responsibilities it is a more strategic role, focusing on sales performance metrics at the top of the funnel and after the sale. Revenue Operations also drives alignment beyond just the sales organization but also ensures marketing and sales have the same go-to-market strategy and alignment of lead and revenue goals through shared data and centralized reporting. In short, Revenue Operations moves beyond just the tactical components of sales operations, but dives deeper into the realm of analytics to better understand revenue performance along the entire customer journey.

Marketing Ops Vs. Rev Ops

The role of a Marketing Operations manager is often a very tactical role. It focuses on lead data hygiene, executing campaigns in the marketing automation platform, procuring and implementing several top-of-the funnel technologies such as web analytics, marketing automation, lead routing, etc., and often limits reporting responsibilities to just campaign performance and lead generation.

Revenue Operations leaders move beyond the tactical duties of Marketing Operations and extend reporting and analytics to the entire customer journey, tracking marketing’s impact all the way through to revenue and customer retention and growth. RevOps owns the entire funnel from lead creation to revenue, not only the top of the funnel, and drives ownership of the entire technology stack, such as sales productivity tools, account enrichment, CPQ, and much more, not just the Marketing Automation platform. Revenue Operations helps to drive alignment not just in the marketing team, but ensures marketing’s efforts - such as its lead scoring, routing, and prioritized account list - are in lock-step with the sales organization for maximum effectiveness.

How do you know if you need revenue ops?

There are 3 problem areas that are addressed by a Revenue Operations team:

  1. A lack of a cohesive technology strategy across teams where you either do not have the right tools or your existing tools are underutilized and not optimized

  2. Leaky funnel and unclear or chaotic lead-to-revenue processes. If your marketing, sales, and Customer success teams experience hand-off issues or misalignment, Revenue Operations can help

  3. Lack of visibility into what is and is not working in the business. The greatest contribution Revenue Operations can make is providing the reporting and analytics that lead to optimization and revenue growth.

If your marketing, sales, and customer success organizations are experiencing any of these, it is a good indication that you should invest in Revenue Operations.

Key Takeaways

Revenue Operations is the consolidation of marketing operations, sales operations, and customer success operations under one roof. Establishing a Revenue Operations team helps to break down silos that form between revenue teams by streamlining lead-to-revenue processes, optimizing your technology stack investment and utilization, and producing insight that leads to better business decisions and improved go-to-market strategy. Companies that employ Revenue Operations within their organization see greater revenue, reduced costs, and increased customer retention.

If you’re looking to implement Revenue Operations within your organization, but aren’t sure where to start, Optimax Business Consulting can help implement a complete end-to-end Revenue Engine strategy using our 5-step A.L.I.G.N. Revenue Engine™ in 90 days or less. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation today!

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